It was cold here the other night and I realised that I needed to get on and start feeding the birds some bought in seed rather than the scaps and fruit I put out in the summer. Other people do it all year around, I know, but luckily where I live I am surrounded by berries and food for the birds so don’t feel so guilty about not feeding in the summer – plus it can be expensive! So, the next day I went out and bought some good quality bird seed and happily put it in the clean feeder and watched expectantly.
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash
Sure enough by the end of the first day I had the usual 5 blue tits, 2 coal tits and and a pair of great tits visiting regularly. By the end of each winter I normally also have 6 – 8 long tailed tits which, despite being common, I find to be the most fascinating and majestic garden bird. Always travelling in groups their arrival at my bird table is the highlight of my winter!
So with all those visitors, by the end of the first day, my bird feeder was almost empty. Next morning, I went out to put out some dried mealworms on the bird table and re-fill the seed feeder only to find huge mounds of discarded bird seed under the table! ‘What fussy little blighters they are’ I thought to myself. I know some birds will enjoy getting the seed from the ground but I have a cat so cannot be too careful. I duly shovelled up the seed from under the table (now wet of course) and sprinkled it into the hedge near me where I know the field mice and voles are busy, and then I refilled the bird feeder. Same thing happened the next day! Then the next! I have now been watching the birds and clearly they only want the sunflower and nyjer seeds – they are chucking out all the rest very quickly as they burrow through the bowl at the bottom of the feeder and if it was not so expensive I would find it very amusing!
I have now melted some lard, mixed it with the seed and have set it in upside down flower pots and they seem much happier – plus you get to watch them tilt upside down which is always amusing. I imagine that they are able to be a bit fussy at the moment as food is still not too scarce and the sunflower and nyger seeds are high in fat content – they obviously cannot be bothered with the millets and other seeds! Don’t let that deter you from trying to feed the birds in your own garden though…spending many minutes a day watching them on the feeder is one of the greatest (almost free) past times!
photo by Yanna Zissiadou on Unsplash
For advice on what to feed the birds all year around, the RSPB site is very useful first stop: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-